Saturday, October 6, 2012

Degrassi TNG: Pride

(Yes, I'm back from my stay in Internet Purgatory. Let's not make a big deal about it.)

In this fantastic (in every sense of the word) episode, sexually confused Marco begins to admit that he's not like all of the other reindeer, but when his jerky buddy Spinner finds out, will he let Marco join in any of his reindeer games ever again?

Marco is dragging fake girlfriend, emo Ellie, to the beach...with all the popular kids who can't stand her. That's some real consideration for your beard there, Fake Boyfriend Marco. It should be noted that Ellie is holding an umbrella, and not the beachy kind. The rainy-day kind. Kids, if the weather is such that you feel the need to bring a rainy-day umbrella to the beach, maybe just think about going to the mall or something. Way to be a bummer, Canada.

Paige gets out of the people-mover for absolutely no other reason except to insult Ellie. I love how Paige consistently has zero consideration for anyone but herself. Ellie sits in the middle seat between Paige and Spinner, which is odd and probably quite uncomfortable, so I don't know why she'd choose to sit there. Marco sits up the front with Paige's brother, Gay Dylan, whom I thought was a total fox back in the day. Marco looks at Dylan for a long, creepy time, and somehow nobody seems to notice.

Once at the beach, Paige gives Spinner a basket full of beach towels to carry, and he refuses because he doesn't want to look like "some homo." Um, confusion. What's gay about towels? Or is it the basket? Are baskets gay? Someone? Help me, please.

Dylan overhears Spinner's slur, and Spinner tries to get out of it with the following:

Spinner: "I don't mean homo as in gay, I meant homo as in..."
Dylan: "Milk?"

Ha! Best Dylan line ever. For some reason, he thinks it's funny because he told Paige not to pack the basket. So it's the basket that's gay? Is this a thing people know? Spinner ends up carrying the basket anyway, probably so Dylan won't kick his ass over the whole homophobic milk thing.

Aw, man. The B-plot is beginning at Emma's house. This cannot be good. Spike is trying to get her giant-headed baby to sleep, but Snake comes in all sneezy. In the next thirty seconds, the poor man manages to cut his hand and sneeze his guts out some more, so his loving wife tells him to get the hell out of the house so Baby Big Head doesn't catch whatever he's got. Which -- and I'm sorry if this spoils anything for you -- is cancer. Of course it is. I know when I get the sniffles, the first thing I think is that it must be cancer. Degrassi is like one of those self-diagnosis websites that gives people the worst possible outcomes and turns them into hypochondriacs.

Those damn kids are still trekking through the wilderness to the beach. Where in the hell did they park? Dylan says that he wants to play some volleyball, because if we've learned anything from Top Gun, it's that volleyball is the most homoerotic sport there is. Ellie's lagging behind, and Marco steals a quick minute to tell her that she's bringing shit down and he wishes he hadn't invited her. Nice, Marco. Ellie responds that she's not going to be Marco's beard anymore, and he agrees that they should just be friends.

Volleyball montage! Unfortunately there are no tanned abs and glistening bodies like in Top Gun, because everyone still has all their clothes on and there's absolutely no sun to speak of. Seriously. It looks freezing cold. Degrassi, I get that Canada's a chilly country and everything, but if that's the case then you gots to stop sending the kids to the beach! It's like that episode in season four when Sean drags his friends to the beach in his hometown, and they're all wearing jackets. Nobody is fooled just because you make them play with some sand.

They couldn't get a single one of those extras into a bikini.

After the world's least sexy volleyball game, Dylan gives Marco tips on how to play volleyball. There is so much homoerotic subtext in this scene, it's not even funny. Marco stares at Dylan for a full six seconds in the least subtle way possible.

Back in the B-plot, sickly Snake has decides to go to the Jeremiah house and infect all of Joey's kids. That's thoughtful. Doesn't Joey have a kindergarten-aged daughter? Craig is pissed because he had been planning on spending the night attempting to get into Ashley's pants, which we know from future episodes would have been a fruitless endeavour anyway.

At the beach, Jimmy, Marco and Spinner are having a water-gun fight, still fully-clothed. It's like they're not even pretending that it's warm. Gay Dylan is sitting on a picnic blanket with his sister, basically pumping her for information on Marco. He tells Paige that he thinks Marco may be gay, and then Hazel comes by with the best non-sequitur of all time: "I'm freezing! Who's gay?" Ha! And thanks for finally admitting how cold it is, Hazel. You're the best.

Hazel tells Dylan that Marco couldn't possibly be gay, because she used to have a massive crush on Marco and he totally ignored her. Right. That settles it, then. The effeminate guy with no interest in women is definitely a straighty-180. The conversation ends abruptly when Dylan totally perves on a couple of male joggers. Really. He even says, "Look at them sweat!" which is not only completely creepy but also factually inaccurate, as it appears to be so cold that any perspiration would turn straight to ice in nanoseconds.

Spinner, who's randomly decided to be a homophobe today, is grossed out by Gay Dylan and his penchant for sexy jogging types. While I understand that they need an unsupportive friend for this whole storyline to work, and asshole Spinner would usually fit the bill pretty well, I find it difficult to believe that he's so over-the-top homophobic when his long-time girlfriend's brother is openly gay. Apart from the milk incident, there's nothing to suggest that they don't get along perfectly well. I'm just not buying it, you guys.

Some time later, the gang has found a nice little spot to toast marshmallows over a random barbecue. Ellie is sitting away from the group, strumming a random guitar. Where are they getting all these set pieces from? Nobody had gay picnic baskets full of guitars and barbecues before. Out of the blue, Spinner tells Marco to go over to Ellie and start acting like her boyfriend. Which is odd, because he doesn't even like Ellie. Why does he care if Marco wants to hang out with her or not? Marco tries to be all macho in front of his mates, and Ellie announces to the world that they broke up. Marco goes off by himself, and Dylan comes by to comfort him wordlessly. It would be a really poignant scene if not for the terrifically out-of-place rap song playing in the background.

The next day at school, Paige tells Spinner about her brother's theory that Marco is gay. Spinner refuses to believe it. Or does he..?

Marco comes to school wearing a hockey jersey, because he knows that Dylan is hardcore into hockey. Even more so than volleyball, you guys. That's how much of a puck-head Dylan is. Craig, Spinner and Jimmy give Marco shit about the jersey, and Spinner gets unnecessarily upset. You would think his maybe-gay best buddy being into sports might make the little hater happy, but apparently this is the only episode where Spinner is cluey and can sense what's going on before everyone else.

Marco finds Dylan in the library, and Dylan asks him if he had fun at the beach. Really, Dylan? The beach, where you know for a fact he got publicly humiliated to the point where you had to go comfort him on some rocks? Sensitive, dude. Marco is so clearly into him, everything he says comes out completely awkward. Dylan pretends not to notice. It's cute, and totally realistic...not like what happens next.

The amazing Jay Hogart walks in (in what I think might be his first appearance) and warns Marco not to drop anything in front of the big homo. Dylan throws his book at Jay's feet and stands there, looking at him menacingly. Because Dylan is a big tall hockey player who's older and probably a lot stronger than Jay, Jay cuts out of there pretty quickly. Marco thinks it's the most outstanding thing he's ever seen, even though all he did was throw a book on the ground! Why even do that? Was he challenging Jay to pick it up or something, because it wasn't even his book. Anyway, Jay cuts out and Marco bends over to pick up the book. They smile at each other. Subtext! Oh, the subtext!

Meanwhile, Craig and Emma have a short conversation about whether or not Snake actually has a cold. It's not important; I just really like Craig and Emma scenes for no particular reason. That episode where they went to find Emma's dad together was so damn cute. Okay, tangent over.

In science class, Spinner is bullying Marco into dating Hazel. It's really all I can call it. He even has a perverted hand gesture to imply that Hazel is stacked. Heh. I can never tell whether I love Spinner or hate him. This scene would be much nicer if I weren't convinced that Spinner has most definitely cottoned on to the fact that his best friend might be gay. Not sure what his plan here is, though -- maybe he thinks Hazel's amazing rack can turn Marco straight or something.

Cut to Marco and Hazel (and her boobs) on a double date with Paige and Spin. They're all having fun and laughing their heads off, and then Ellie stops by and ruins it all by taking Marco aside and reminding him that he's not straight. Well heck, Ellie, why are we letting a little thing like that ruin everyone fun? After that tremendous telling-off, Marco lies to the others and tells them that he has to go home for dinner, but Suddenly Smart Spinner is not fooled for a second, yo! He follows Marco into the parking lot and absolutely berates the hell out of him. Marco cries and tells Spinner that he's gay. Spinner seems shocked by this, even though he already had an inkling, and huffs off.

Oh, and Snake has cancer. But I already told you that was going to happen, so don't be all Spinner-shocked about it.

The next day, Spinner, Jimmy and Craig are talking about the weekend, but before that, we get an obligatory student-complaining-about-his-classes line. This time it's Craig, who tells Jimmy, "Why are they teaching us about soil erosion? I'm not a farmer. I'm never going to be a farmer." It would be classic if it weren't completely ripping off Ferris Bueller's sentiments on European Socialism. Anyway.

Dylan joins them and hands them all tickets for his big hockey game. Note: Spinner seems completely fine with Dylan. The dude even puts his hand on Spinner's shoulder, and Spinner doesn't even notice...but the second Marco gets a mention (and Craig and Jimmy get excited about a "boys' night") Spinner calls them fags. Legit calls them fags. You're allowed to say 'fag' in Degrassi, as long as it serves a purpose and is never mentioned again.

Jimmy and Craig apparently think that randomly being called fags is sort-of weird behaviour (where would they get that idea?) and Spinner tells the boys that Marco's not coming to the game because he's busy with Ellie. 'Cause it's one thing to go watch a gay guy play hockey, but it's quite another to watch a gay guy play hockey with a gay guy. I just...I don't even know. Spinner is so selectively homophobic, it's getting bizarre.

In PE class, the boys are playing...wait for it...volleyball. Of course they are! This is the gay episode, after all. Craig tells Marco that it's too bad he can't come tonight, and Marco goes up to Spinner and demands to know why he lied to the guys about the hockey game. It culminates in Spinner accusing Marco of only wanting to go to the hockey game because of his "big gay crush." Which is actually true. Mr. Armstrong the PE teacher tells them to stop gossiping and play some v-ball. I like that he presumably heard all of that and decided to completely ignore it. Teacher of the year right there.

What happens next is just sad, subtextually. Spinner decides that what volleyball needs is a little bit of violence, and continuously spikes the ball hard and fast at Marco. No, Spinner! This is volleyball, the subject of Marco and Dylan's first sexually-charged conversation! You're turning it into a hate crime! Stop it!

There is some B-plot action where Snake decides to take control of his body again and shaves his head for charity. Poor Snake. Of all the old Degrassi alumni, he's probably the least deserving of this fate. Stephanie Kaye? Totally different story.

Spinner takes himself to the mens' room and writes the smallest possible 'Marco is a fag' above the urinals. Seriously. His graffiti fits into the grouting of the brick wall. Why even bother? Jimmy catches him doing it, and gets angry. Not sure why, considering that I don't believe Marco and Jimmy have had more than five scenes together previously. He asks Spinner if he's going to write something racist about him next, and Spinner is offended because he is not a racist! Then again, he's also not homophobic, except when he is.

That's literally the graffiti. Right there. I had to circle it.

Ellie comes up to Marco at his locker, and Marco tells her that he's not going to the hockey game after all. Thankfully, Marco's new bestie Jimmy happens by, calls him by his last name, and tells him that he has to come with them to the game. Yay for Jimmy! Ellie gives her friend a supportive smile, which is nice, since Jimmy didn't even bother to acknowledge her existence. It should also be noted that Marco has a picture of Shakira in his locker, which, way to sell 'straight', Del Rossi.

Her hips don't lie, and neither does his taste in music.

In the B-plot, Joey and the stupid brunette girlfriend who's not Caitlin decide to come by Snake's house and fix his cancer with a salad and omega-3 fatty acids. Really. That's actually what Not-Caitlin's plan is. Snake comes home, limping, and treats his guests to the tale of his biopsy. (Which was from the pelvic bone, hence the uncomfortable walking situation he's found himself in.) He tells everyone to stay, and then puts on some music and yells, "Let's get this party started!" Clearly he's dealing with this well.

That night, Marco is going to Dylan's hockey game dressed like this:

Okay. He won't stand out at all. For some reason, the arena he's trying to find is located in the middle of Gay Town, Ontario. We know it's a gay hotspot because there's a rainbow flag in the background, and if you look closely, you can maybe catch on to the fact that the people there might possibly butter their bread on that side. But you really have to look, because it's not like everyone's wearing leather:

Or hugging their boyfriend:

Or holding hands while walking their dog:

Or standing on the corner with a terrifically bad blonde dye-job APPLYING MOTHERFUCKING LIP BALM:

Seriously! What in the hell?! There are more gay stereotypes on this one city block than at ten Celine Dion concerts! Subtlety can kiss Degrassi's ass. Despite the literal buffet of openly gay men, it's Marco who ends up the target of a homophobic gang, which I guess makes sense. He is much, much smaller than the other guys. And that one couple had that giant horse of a dog, so it's not like they were getting bashed anytime soon.

Meanwhile, at the hockey game, Jimmy is concerned that BFF-of-the-week Marco isn't there yet. He decides to give him a call.

The violent gang has taken Marco to the park. Marco is in a headlock, and the most vocal of the thugs tells him that he's pretty. "Almost girl pretty." Kind of an odd thing to say, but whatever floats your boat, Loud Obnoxious Gangbanger. Marco gets Jimmy's call, but the thugs break his phone and beat the hell out of him. Truly. Their trash talk may be a world of terrible, but this scene is actually quite violent. Marco looks terrified. This is one of the first times Degrassi's tried to be confronting and has actually succeeded.

Thankfully, the police randomly happen by and chase the thugs off. Well bully for that. Great timing, Canada's Finest, although I'm a little disappointed that you're not mounties. Jimmy also comes by and consoles poor old Marco. Thank God those gangbangers thought to gay-bash Marco in the world's busiest, centrally-located, best-lit park.

At school the next day, Marco's been telling people that he got swarmed for his shoes. What a cover story. Ellie thinks now's the time to berate him about coming out, because things like timing apparently mean shit to her. Marco, predictably, tells her to drop it. He also flees from his beloved Dylan, which is probably the saddest thing of all. Who will pick up Dylan's books when he throws them at people's feet now?

Jimmy and Spinner are shooting hoops, and Spinner makes fun of Marco getting his shoes stolen. Apparently he finds nothing fishy about his story. (Like the fact that he still has his shoes.) He then goes on to say that it's Marco's fault, because he decided not to walk to the game with the rest of the guys. Spinner, are you smoking crack or something? You didn't want him there! He went to the game by himself because Spinner made him feel so unwelcome! Dammit, Spinner!

The episode ends with the Spinner and Marco in the bathroom, admiring Spinner's tiny graffiti with the aid of a magnifying glass. Spinner tells Marco to stop being gay, and then Marco grows a gigantic pair of balls and tells Spin that he's just as bad as the guys who bashed him. End credits. Nothing gets resolved, which I actually like, to be honest. Sometimes things don't get fixed in an episode. Sometimes they don't even get fixed in a two-parter. That's when you know you've got problems.


  1. So I don't know if you'll ever see this but I just read a few of your posts and I've been literally laughing out loud. You are such a great writer, I just want to read more! Sorry to see you don't use this blog so much anymore, but I hope you're still writing! xx Gina :)

  2. Dear God, how long have I been gone? Thanks for reading, Gina!